Episode 17 of The Devil Punisher begins with Hsin-Yu giving Ouyang Kai a little clue as to what’s happening as they agree they’d do anything to protect the ones they love. But he immediately jumps to the effect.
Hsin-Yu visits Lu Chi’s house and En-Hsi is there too. Lu Chi says he needs to finish something with En-Hsi first. Hsin-Yu sneaks upstairs and finds the rafflesia room again. She sees all the jars with victim’s names.
Before she can get too far, Lu Chi discovers her. He admits he’s taking a small bit of each person’s soul and that the Underworld doesn’t notice. Hsin-Yu tries to find out more but only learns pieces, such as he’s fusing their resentment-fueled souls into En-Hsi’s to make her stronger.
He sends En-Hsi away but before she leaves, she wants to know how long Hsin-Yu is staying. Instead, he tells her she’s scaring Hsin-Yu and it’s time to go. Then confirms that the demonized En-Hsi is the key to their eternal life. Hsin-Yu calls En-Hsi the third wheel but can’t find out why it must be En-Hsi. Lu Chi suggests Hsin-Yu move to his house.
Chung visits Old Chin who confirms Hsin-Yu is mortal now, so he should give up on her. She passes him a copy of the Oracle and notes that nine stars will align soon, just like 1000 years ago. She tries to jog his memory without saying much and tosses him a ring that should help, but it’s not clicking yet.
Lu Chi paces and finally, Hsin-Yu arrives with her suitcase. She wakes in her room recalling their chat the previous evening. He said he’d be patient, no matter how long it takes. She claims to not want someone to come between them and he pledges she’s the only one.
When he arrives to wake her, she feigns sleep. He says she’s got a friend waiting but it’s a zoned-out En-Hsi. He throws some evil spirit at her rather than use her feelings for him in order to satisfy Hsin-Yu’s jealousy. Hsin-Yu begs him to stop so he sends En-Hsi on her mission the old-fashioned way.
Chung is at his perch and hears that Hsin-Yu moved in with Lu Chi. He shows up at their door. Lu Chi forces her to tell Chung they’re getting married. He looks broken.
Chung stays in bed but Ouyang Kai continuously rings the doorbell, trying to cheer him. Shocking Ouyang Kai, Chung wonders if En-Hsi has heard about the engagement, saying he’ll check on her.
At the café, En-Hsi watches and listens to Lu Chi and Hsin-Yu together. Lu Chi notes Hsin-Yu is just like she was 1000 years ago. En-Hsi recalls how they’ve always been in sync.
Hsin-Yu tries to speak to En-Hsi before she leaves for the night but Lu Chi notes someone is waiting for En-Hsi. It’s Chung, who tells her they’re getting married but she doesn’t believe it.
At home, Lu Chi wants Hsin-Yu to make cold pagoda noodles like she used to but she tries to persuade him to her new speciality, pasta. He’s angry but says he’s not worried as he has their whole eternal life to make her fall for him again but won’t explain further.
Chung reads the Oracle, noting Nine Stars Alignment in the text. Cheng Huang, who’s technically still in a fight with Chung, spots he’s got 30 days before the alignment and considering the circumstances, it must have something to do with Chung specifically. Chung confirms that he died during the last Nine Star Alignment.
He asks Cheng Huang to help him get through the text but Cheng Huang wonders why Hsin-Yu isn’t helping. He gapes at hearing they split up. Chung says they need to focus and decides to visit the Director of Destinies.
Ex-boyfriend Yun-Han is following Wu Yu-Han to apologize to her. Lu Chi drops in to put him to work. He leaves a café card behind for Yu-Han to find. Yun-Han writes the program Lu Chi needs and becomes another of his slaves.
A guy is live streaming chaos in the city and gets knocked over. The news reports a spate of robberies and people feeling anxious. Lu Chi tells Hsin-Yu that the chaos is related to them and uses it to prove his power.
The guy shows up at the café after seeing a post about Eternal Night. Yun-Han is waiting for him. More people show up – it’s a resentment party run by Lu Chi. He gives them a protective piece of fire to use only on Eternal Night.
Yu-Han shows up at the café as the streaming guy exits looking possessed. She follows him as he babbles about taking care of his fire. She stops him from lighting it but he knocks her out. Hsiao-Chi prevents him from bashing her further.
She reports the incident to Chung and he asks her to keep an eye on Yu-Han, noticing a theme. He visits the Director of Destinies asking about the danger to the three realms. But he’s not able to help Chung, as it’s a trial for him and humans.
The Director promises to give him a clue closer to the date, so as not to interfere with karma. He notes its Chung’s last opportunity to go through this trial with Lady Meng and Lu Chi.
Back on Earth, Chung thinks about Hsin-Yu and all the issues, frustrated that he can’t make a move.
Lu Chi tells Yun-Han that Yu-Han is hurt because of him and gets him to send her a message. He texts her to meet him at the abandoned building.
Yu-Han wakes from her hospital bed to go meet him, followed by Hsiao-Chi. Yun-Han attacks Hsiao-Chi using Heaven’s magical tool. Hsin-Yu tries to help but Lu Chi won’t let her. He says his attack via human is more proof that he’s able to rule the three realms.
Hsiao-Chi zaps herself to Chung’s house but she’s in bad shape, wounded by Seven Star Sword’s power. She mumbles about Lu Chi but passes out. On-screen the Oracle reads: In 781 AD, Chung Kuei and Lu Chi watched the Nine Star Alignment together. Due to the Palace Exam humiliation, he died after bumping into a post.
Chung sets Hsiao-Chi to rest, surprised she was injured by her own sword power and that he doesn’t see any evil spirit aura in her. Could a mortal have hit her?
Hsin-Yu asks Lu Chi if he blasted Hsiao-Chi to prove his power. She asks him not to injure others but he changes the subject and presents her with an engagement ring. He’s furious when she won’t let him put it on her finger. In anger, he tells her it’s about karma and sends her to her room. He decides to see En-Hsi to make use of his rage.
Hsin-Yu, now terrified, sits in her room telling herself not to be scared. She remembers the ring Old Chin gave her, who suggested that spies have their own code, tapping her own ring with nod. Hsin-Yu stresses, wondering if Lu Chi has figured her out.
En-Hsi gets a text from Lu Chi but ignores it saying she only feels pain and fear when she thinks of him. She spots Ouyang Kai and gets him to play with her. Ignoring more and more messages from Lu Chi, she asks Ouyang Kai to take her away.
Chung and Cheng Huang play Go, discussing the facts. Chung says he’s just a pawn. Ouyang Kai runs in with a passed-out En-Hsi. Lu Chi’s claw is attached to her skull.
Chung Kuei: The cause and effect of all grievances and disasters in the world, stem from the unwillingness to give up greed, ignorance and perversion.
The Episode Review
Cheng Huang nails it – Gods have their difficulties too. Welcome to Crazyville, starring Lu Chi. Our man Chung is having a tough time, not able to see the wood through the trees. Of course, it could be that 1000-page text he’s struggling to analyze coupled with his god-sized broken heart. And this business about dying after bumping into a post? More than just an innocent bump, don’t you think, even for a fragile human? But as they’ve mentioned it twice recently, I’m sure we’ll hear more soon.
*Karma makes an appearance as several characters tie the concept to Chung, Hsin-Yu and Lu Chi collectively, indicating that today’s situation was built on their previous interactions together. But last time, they didn’t have friends in high places. How long do you think it will take for them to figure out those rings? And to quit being noble and work together of course, which is just a thought.
Hsin-Yu is getting swallowed by fear, which perhaps comes from being the inside man in Crazyville. Think she’ll be able to gather enough information to help Chung? And keep it together until then? Lu Chi claims he’ll be patient but his rage is heightening by the moment.
The tension has ramped up considerably as Lu Chi makes his moves. I’m not sure about the creepy hand, particularly the one on En-Hsi’s head, but going with it for now as symbolism. At the moment, everyone seems to be at his mercy where even gods are watching their steps.
Lu Chi continues to build his mortal army. Where did he get all that power? Even the Director of Destinies is keeping schtum. Played by Kingone Wang Someone Like You (Netflix), Goodbye, My Princess (Viki), Love or Spend (Viki) as a guest role, could he be more cryptic? I guess it really is all down to Chung and Cheng Huang to work out.
*If you’re curious, according to Chinese Buddhism, (e.g. the Chinese Buddhism encyclopedia) karma refers to actions that spring from an unenlightened being. Noting the universal law of cause and effect, where positive actions produce happiness and negative actions produce suffering, it translates to ‘action or acts that imprint habitual tendencies in the mind.’ Hmm.